Legal Business Blogs

CMS’ Aberdeen capability sees it awarded £572m BG Group disposal

CMS Cameron McKenna’s capability in Aberdeen has seen it selected ahead of fellow BG Group panel law firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance to lead the energy producer’s £562m sale of a North Sea gas pipeline to Anglo-French fund manager Antin Infrastructure Partners.

The sale, which is the largest since BG Group’s $1.9bn sale of a stake in its Queensland Curtis project in Australia to China National Offshore Oil Corporation last year, is being led by CMS’ Aberdeen-based oil and gas specialist Norman Wisely alongside London-based head of UK private equity, James Grimwood.

Herbert Smith Freehills is advising Antin led by corporate partner James MacArthur, working alongside finance partner Will Nevin, global head of tax Isaac Zailer and corporate partner Henry Davey, who recently represented EDF on the sale of its electricity distribution businesses to a consortium headed by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing for £5.8bn.

Continuing the trend towards bringing more legal work in-house, chief counsel of corporate finance at BG Group, Howard Landes, handled a large portion of the work surrounding the sale of BG’s 63% interest in the Central Area Transmission System. The 404km gas pipeline links three North Sea oil and gas platforms with an onshore gas processing terminal in Teesside, north England.

It is anticipated the transaction will close in the second half of 2014.

BG Group, which streamlined its legal panel in November 2013 when Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills were dropped and Clifford Chance instated alongside Freshfields and CMS Cameron McKenna, said CMS Cameron McKenna’s Aberdeen office secured their appointment. Landes told Legal Business: ‘We used CMS because the asset was run out of Aberdeen so we wanted people with particular knowledge there.’

CMS expanded into Aberdeen in 1996, combining forces this year with merger partner Dundas & Wilson, which opened an office in the Scottish City in 2012.